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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Apr;21(2):154-65. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Feb 21.

VEGFs and receptors involved in angiogenesis versus lymphangiogenesis.

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Molecular/Cancer Biology Laboratory, Biomedicum Helsinki and Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Vascular endothelial growth factors and their endothelial tyrosine kinase receptors are central regulators of vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. VEGF signalling through VEGFR-2 is the major angiogenic pathway, and blockage of VEGF/VEGFR-2 signalling is the first anti-angiogenic strategy for cancer therapy. VEGFR-1 seems to act as a negative regulator of VEGF-mediated angiogenesis during development, and as a stimulator of pathological angiogenesis when activated by its specific ligands PlGF and VEGF-B. PlGF recruits angiogenic macrophages to tumours, and targeting PlGF could therefore be beneficial in cancer. For VEGF-B, with very limited angiogenic potential, a new role has been identified in regulating lipid metabolism in the heart. VEGF-C and VEGF-D induce lymphangiogenesis via VEGFR-3 and have also been shown to be lymphangiogenic in tumours, stimulating metastasis. Mouse models of lymphoedema have established VEGF-C as a promising agent for pro-lymphangiogenic therapy. In addition to lymphangiogenesis, VEGFR-3 has also been shown to be important for angiogenesis, acting together with VEGF/VEGFR-2 and Dll4/Notch signalling to control angiogenic sprouting. Increasing knowledge of the mechanisms regulating (lymph)angiogenesis should enable the development of better agents to combat metastasis and the resistance of tumours towards anti-angiogenic treatment, and of pro-(lymph)angiogenic treatment methods for ischaemic diseases and lymphoedema.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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